Kobe Bryant is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, boasting a resume that includes 17 All-Star game appearances, a regular season MVP, 2 Finals MVPs, five NBA championships, and 2 Olympic gold medals from the 2008 and 2012 games. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo indicated to Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops that Bryant would be welcome to attempt to add to that medal count in Rio in 2016.
"If he had a great year, it would be a great story for him to try to close out his career by winning a gold medal," Colangelo told Sheridan. This goes against earlier comments by Colangelo indicating that attendance at the current Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas would be mandatory for players to be considered for the final roster in Rio.
But it sounds like Colangelo and Bryant have come to an understanding regarding Bryant's absence, and that Bryant would still be given an opportunity to be rewarded for his history of international participation with one last shot at a gold medal.
Bryant and Colangelo actually discussed the possibility [of Bryant playing in Rio] in June during an NBA/USAB sponsorship conference in New York. Colangelo made no promises or guarantees, but made it clear to Bryant that if he is able to compete at a high level during the 2015-16 season, the door will be open for him to return to Team USA.
As nice of a story as it would be to see Bryant walk into the sunset with a gold medal in hand, he has previously indicated he will not play in the 2016 Olympics, but the reason he might attend the games in Rio anyway is classic Kobe:
Kobe says he won't play in the 2016 Olympics, but he might attend as a spectator to "see Pau win another silver medal"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 21, 2014
Pau Gasol upon hearing that burn (probably):
With that said, like with his retirement, Bryant probably has not made a final decision regarding whether he would want to participate in a final Olympic games. Bryant likely needs to see what level he is still able to play at after multiple major injuries, and whether or not he can make it through the 2015-16 season healthy before making decisions on his future. Still, I don't think anyone would say no to getting a chance to watch one last Olympic swan song for Bryant.